I’ve just turned 29 years old, a figure that “officially” says goodbye to your youth when talking about discounts. It’s not like I didn’t know it, but it came back to my mind some weeks ago when reviewing offers on the Portuguese global rail passes. While programs like InterRail and Eurail end discounts at 26, the “Comboios de Portugal” discounts allow you to use any of the cards of the EYCA program participants until the day you turn 30. And you can enjoy it on all kind of trains and even on its global passes for Portugal, the ones called “Intra-Rail”. And if you’re over 30, do not stop reading!
“Intra-Rail” is a product of “Comboios de Portugal” that lets you move along the country without limitations in its “Inter Cidades” network (Intercity trains) and it also includes accommodation in any of the HI hostels network in Portugal. But keep it in mind, in rooms shared with strangers. There is, anyway, the chance to pay a surcharge for those who need some privacy, changing to a private room. There are two different passes, the 3-day-pass (including 2 nights of accommodation) and the 7-days-pass (allowing 6 nights of accommodation). Even knowing that Portugal is an affordable destination in Europe, the price is pretty unbeatable for those who want to visit Portugal from North to South (or South to North).
The 7-day pass costs € 145, and if you show a card of EYCA program, you can get it for just € 129. If you consider that one night in a shared dorm usually costs €10, it is pretty clear that transportation will be soon paying back and that it is far cheaper than renting a car or buying individual train or bus tickets. I was recently taking a train for a 100km (slower) regional service, and I already spent €8.2. Imagine then if you intend to travel along the 800Km of Portugal from North to South and include any deviation into the mainland. And if you don’t find the price pretty convienient, remember that breakfast will be included: another little extra that can save you money during your tour around Portugal.
And if you already have 30 years or more, do not worry, for 129 € you can have a comprehensive 7-day pass. Of course, it does not include any accommodation, but come other benefits such as free transportation in Lisbon and flexibility of use within a month, so you don’t need to travel consecutive days as in the young pass. That means that you can find the best accommodation or corner and visit Portugal from North to South for in a more relaxed way. This pass is called “Portugal Rail Pass”. And as always, you can use the InterRail ticket, which is now also available for adults (€125, 6 days).
With all this in mind for years (when the pass used to allow ‘areas selection’ within Portugal), my intention for Easter was to use it. However, I suddenly found the opportunity to fly to San Francisco for just €400 return, so I might push my Portuguese plans until August or September (but I just wanted to share this with you right now, just in case you turn 30 next month!). It will be a bit trickier to arrange accommodation dring summer (as it is high season and hostels get full quickly), but the plan is to fly from Barcelona to Faro, disconnect a few days in the most desired by all European beaches, and after two days, start to use the pass to move Norther. Moreover, Juana, co-author of this blog, has lived in Portugal and knows a bit about it, so I will get her great advice.
At the end of the trip, in the most northern Portugal, crossing the border to Galicia, I have friends and family to visit: our Christmas but summer sun shelter.